How Renting an Entire Ski Resort Could Actually Save You Money
Ever dreamed of gathering a bunch of your closest friends and renting out a ski resort? Well, Utah's Eagle Point Ski Resort could be the place you make your dreams come true.
For $10,000, you can rent the entire resort (including all trails, lifts, and available condo lodging) for one day and one night. That’s right -- if you have 199 friends, it’ll only cost you $50 each, as Forbes noted. If you’re an avid skier, you know this is a great deal.
Skiing Usually Costs Big Bucks
Though there are plenty of ways to save on skiing, it's known as a very expensive sport. A quick look at ticket and lodging prices easily shows why the sport has that reputation.
A one-day adult lift ticket at Vail Mountain Resort in Colorado costs $159 -- and that's just for access to the slopes. That doesn't include lodging, rental equipment or food.
Renting a one-bedroom, one-bath condo near the mountain starts around $274 per night and goes all the way up to $1,500 per night, just for a place to sleep. That's far from a cheap getaway. To enjoy one day of skiing and one night at the hill, an adult would pay $296. Renting Eagle Point with a crew of 200 would save each one of you almost $250 just for lift tickets and lodging.
And Vail isn't the only pricey resort. Lift tickets at Aspen Snowmass are $129 for adults, and a one-bedroom condo ranges from $220-550 per night. A day and night at Aspen works out to $239 per person per night, even choosing the least expensive lodging option.
It's not just the Colorado resorts that are pricey. Park City Mountain Resort in Utah charges $112 for an adult lift ticket and condos start at $215 per night, with luxury options reaching well into the quadruple digits -- making a visit there cost about $220 per person per night with the least expensive lodging option.
However, for just $10,000 (a princely sum, but not when divided among 200 people), you can rent the entire Eagle Point Ski Resort, including lifts and lodging for your own private party.
How Can They Charge So Little?
Shane Gadbaw had spent over a decade working with banks and hedge funds before he and his business partners decided to purchase Eagle Point. They own the entire resort, including lodging, restaurants and mountain operations, which means they can rent it out as they please.
Most resorts are beholden to season passholders, whose passes typically say they can ski with the pass any day the resort is open. That is why larger resorts don't shut down to cater to private groups -- their terms simply won't let them.
However, this private resort is only open to passholders and the public Thursday through Sunday (except for holiday weeks). That frees up three days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) to host private parties.
What's the Resort Like?
With an average of 450 inches of snow a year and 320 days of annual sunshine, Eagle Point has a lot going for it.
Located in the Tushar Mountains in Beaver, Utah, Eagle Point is known for having the steepest runs in southern Utah and offering challenging backcountry touring options. The resort's 40 runs range from easy groomers to expert lines. The resort is split up with harder, steeper terrain in one area and easier, beginner and intermediate friendly groomers on the other side. They even have snowshoeing trails.
The resort boasts 600 skiable acres, five lifts and a terrain park, and its staff posts tantalizing photos of their snow on Eagle Point's Facebook page. This year has been a low snow year throughout the west, but the resort has received 150 inches (so far) and had a 50-inch base when I wrote this post. Check current conditions in the full snow report.
Who Rents a Ski Resort?
Well, anybody, really. Eagle Point offers an “As You Wish Package” that caters to individual groups' needs and wants. “This is your chance to be king of the mountain,” their website boasts. The package allows potential renters to coordinate with the resort to choose lodging, dining and other options to meet their needs.
Located just three and a half hours from Las Vegas (and a similar distance from Salt Lake City), the main target audience for this package is conventions, corporate groups and companies hosting staff retreats who can charter buses to make the trip. However, Eagle Point is more than willing to accommodate just about any celebration or group, from birthday parties to ski club getaways.
How Can I Find 199 People to Rent a Resort With Me?
Most of us don't know 199 people off the top of our heads who would want to go in on a full ski resort rental. However, there are plenty of ways to get a group of that size and inclination together to make the dream of having a ski resort all to yourselves come true.
First, think about groups you belong to. If you’re part of a ski club, that's an obvious choice. See if opening the opportunity up to friends and families of members can bring you up close to the 200-person mark. If you’re not quite there, consider joining forces with other clubs to make a joint effort to rent the entire resort.
A private ski resort getaway would work well for any athletically-minded group, whether it's a high school or college reunion, a school or church event, or even a family reunion. With plenty of different styles of terrain, from simple beginner runs to tricky expert terrain, there's something for everyone (and don't forget about the snowshoeing trails if that's a preferred speed for some group members).
Big group celebrations are another way to gather up the 200 people to make the rental cost $50 per person. Look at the calendar and see if there are any birthdays or anniversaries coming up. Weddings are also fair game. Talk about a memorable celebration!
Corporate events are also huge at the resort. Convince your workplace to host a gathering, whether it's a team-building retreat, strategic planning session, client thank you, corporate event or any other type of business function.
You could even use MeetUp and social media to pull together enough strangers to cover the cost. But be sure to get payment from all participants well in advance so you don't end up stuck with a huge bill if people flake out at the last minute. It shouldn't be too hard to find people who want to pay a sixth the cost of going to Vail for a far more private experience.
Your Turn: Would you consider renting a ski resort for this kind of deal?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.